My “Born Again … Again” Article in Christianity Today
My four-page article in the March issue of Christianity Today (our staff is joking about “the Chris Rice centerfold”) is now posted on-line – “Born Again … Again.” The subtitle, “In my ministry of racial reconciliation, I had to move from a culture of effort to a culture of grace.”
I begin with the story (first blogged here) of a life-changing paradigm shift that took place in our Christian community in Mississippi 12 years ago. Our gospel had largely become one of trying harder and doing more. And this is not a gospel of good news because it is primarily about our action and not God’s. As our culture of demands was interrupted by a “culture of grace” it was, as Spencer Perkins said at the time, “like going back to kindergarten.”
I reflect on four ways this breakthrough has reshaped my understanding of what it means to work for reconciliation in a divided world:
It means to recognize that reconciliation is God’s gift; it does not begin with our activism …
It means working for justice with a spirit of mercy …
It means understanding that conversion by grace takes time and does not leave us standing complacently where we are …
Pursuing racial reconciliation in grace means to journey toward holiness …
In The Habit of Being Flannery O’Connor writes, “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” So true. Yet beautifully painful I would add, Good Friday on the way to Easter, a journey toward new life.
I’d love to hear your comments about the Christianity Today article.
About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. His writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers with Chris Rice.
Related Reconcilers Posts: Celebrating “Grace Day”: From Trying Harder and Doing More to a Culture of Grace
Also See: Playing the Grace Card by Spencer Perkins in Christianity Today, 1998
Last 5 Posts on the Reconcilers Blog:
- Do Duke and the ‘Hood Need Each Other?
- Book Recommendation: Friendship at the Margins
- A Lenten Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope Into Durham
- 2010 Duke Summer Reconciliation Institute: A Gift of Nourishing for Christian Leaders
- The Nitty-Gritty of Healing Our Histories: Three Recommended Readings